Notice of a joint Research England and Office for Students funding competition to reduce inequalities in postgraduate research study

Notice of a joint Research England and Office for Students funding competition to reduce inequalities in postgraduate research study

This is advance notice of the intention of Research England (RE) and the Office for Students (OfS) to launch a joint funding competition to improve access and participation for black, Asian and minority ethnicity postgraduate research students in autumn 2020.

We are releasing this information now, to provide as much notice as possible for potential applicants. Full details of the call will be published in the autumn.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, RE and OfS had been working together to understand Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) challenges for postgraduate research students (PGR).

This was discussed in a blog by the Director of Research at Research England, and Head of Skills at the Office for Students and highlighted evidence that inequalities persist in access and participation for black, Asian and minority ethnic students throughout higher education.

We will be seeking project proposals to improve access and participation for black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in PGR in the English higher education sector.

We are interested in projects that provide evidence of effectiveness and impact on access and participation for black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in PGR. We expect projects to provide effective practice and transferable insights for application across the higher education sector.

The aims of this funding competition are to:

  • stimulate, scale-up and distribute effective practice in increasing access and participation for black, Asian and/or minority ethnic groups in PGR.
  • address evidenced issues of equity across the PGR student lifecycle that create barriers for students from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.
  • collaborate strategically to embed EDI across the sector to improve access and participation for black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in PGR.

Who is likely to be eligible for funding?

All providers registered with the OfS in the Approved (fee cap) registration category (note 1) and that are eligible for RE funding (note 2), will be eligible to bid. Other providers and third sector organisations can be involved in proposals as part of a collaboration.

It is anticipated that projects will be supported for up to four years, with individual awards made at a minimum of £200,000 and up to a maximum of £400,000. Collaborative bids from multiple providers may apply for up to £800,000.

We anticipate funding a variety of projects to explore the widest range of activities across the broadest portfolio possible.

We aim for full information on the funding competition to be made available in autumn 2020.


  1. See www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/the-register/the-ofs-register/
  2. See http://re.ukri.org/news-events-publications/publications/terms-and-conditions-of-research-england-grant1/